The Federal Ministry of Health in partnership with the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust Trachoma Initiative and non-governmental organizations, have reaffirmed their commitments towards eliminating Neglected Tropical Diseases in Nigeria.
At a recent event in Abuja, whilst celebrating the progress of partnering with other concerned bodies that are determined to help eliminate blinding Trachoma in Nigeria and other African countries, Director of Public Health, Evelyn Ngige said:
“it is pertinent to note that stakeholders in and outside Nigeria have chosen to gather here to celebrate progress made towards eliminating one of the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs);more than 10 million people in Nigeria are at risk of getting or having untreated NTDS”.
“NTDs are poverty related and degenerating diseases and our government has launched a robust and integrated multi-year national plan to control and eliminate these diseases in the country by 2020”.
In addition to this Astrid Bonfield, the CEO of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, said since 2014, The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust Trachoma Initiative has supported the Nigerian government in eliminating blinding Trachoma.
It was also noted that poor and marginalized communtites were the most affected by the disease. Nigeria bears 25 percent of the NTDs burden in the African sub region with some of the NTDS in the highest number of reported cases globally. This makes them to impact negatively on life expectancy, education and economic opportunities of affected individuals and the communities they live in.
The Federal Ministry of Health is currently working with a number of donor countries and organizations, as well as NGO partners on programmes to eliminate 10 NTDs in the country as part of the World Health Organization global targets for NTDs control and elimination by 2020.
There have been modest achievements made in the control and elimination of these NTDs in Nigeria like the eradication of Guinea worm disease in Nigeria and the interruption of transmission of Trachoma and lymphatic Filariasis in Plateau and Nassarawa states.